Tea in the Middle East

Tea is the national drink of many Middle Eastern nations. What coffee is to western nations, tea is to Arabic-speaking countries. As trade continues to increase the transfer of ideas and products to different nations across the globe, many of these unique teas have charmed their way into our favorite coffee shops and grocery aisles. In this article, we will briefly discuss some of the most popular Middle Eastern teas, and the qualities that make them so special.


Iran (formerly Persia) is one of the aforementioned nations where tea reigns as the supreme national drink of choice. Here, tea is traditionally consumed with kand, a type of quickly-dissolving rock sugar. It is estimated that every street in Iran has its very own social Chaikhane (tea house), making it one of the top tea-consuming nations.

In addition, most of the tea drank in Iran comes from its very own tea farms. The Gilan province along the Caspian Sea is one of these areas renowned for its tea cultivation. The industry offers millions of jobs to natives each year, in turn helping the economy.


In Iraq, the social aspect of tea drinking is more family than friend-oriented, and consumed in living rooms as opposed to Iran-style tea houses. The tea is prepared in a manner similar to that of traditional English tea, with boiling water in a kettle, and then tea leaves added to this water. Instant tea bags are almost always frowned upon.

The preferred tea leaves come from Ceylon, but considering how rations have been imposed upon Iraqi citizens in recent years, the type of tea they may acquire varies. Generally, Iraqi tea is flavored with cardamom and served in tiny glasses called istikans.


While citizens of this nation tend to prefer Bedouin coffee (usually served bitter), teas are also commonplace. Jordanian teas tend to resemble those of the Southeastern United states in both physical appearance and flavor.

A single black tea or mix may be used to create the tea itself. This varies from household to household. However, when being boiled, a substantial amount of sugar is added. Usually, drinkers have the option of adding mint or sage to taste according to their own personal preferences.


In a global sense, Israeli teas are almost automatically associated with a brand: Wissotzky Tea. Founded in 1849 by Klonimus Wolf Wissotzky in Russia, the company is based in Israel, and continues to grow in popularity despite the global financial crises. The company produces a vast variety of black teas, which are consumed as excessively in Israel as they are in the rest of the world.